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PSA Group’s Opel acquisition approved by EU

Seal of approval: Another step has been taken towards PSA Group’s acquisition of GM’s European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, with the sale signed off by EU antitrust authorities.

European Union gives PSA Group green light to acquire Opel/Vauxhall from GM

6 Jul 2017

EUROPEAN Union (EU) antitrust authorities have formally approved PSA Group’s proposed acquisition of General Motors’ (GM) Opel and Vauxhall brands for €2.2 billion ($A3.3b).

Announced on March 6 this year, the acquisition will promote PSA Group to the second-largest automotive conglomerate in Europe, behind current market leader Volkswagen Group.

A 17 per cent market share will be created thanks to uniting GM’s European brands with PSA Group’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS under the same umbrella.

Furthermore, also included in the proposed transaction is the acquisition of GM’s European financial operations via a PSA Group joint venture with BNP Paribas, with a 50 per cent share taken by each company.

This acquisition is likewise subject to a review from EU antitrust authorities, with PSA Group saying it expects a decision sometime in the second half of this year.

In response to this latest development, PSA Group manager of programs and Group strategy Patrice Lucas said “we have taken a substantial step. The teams are now focused on the achievement of all other conditions necessary for the closing, planned for later this year”.

Opel is set to be acquired for €1.3b ($A1.9b), while Vauxhall will attract a €0.9b ($A1.3b) pricetag.

According to a PSA Group statement, the acquisition “will serve as the basis of (PSA Group’s) profitable growth worldwide.’’As previously reported, the French conglomerate will be upscaling its operations in purchasing, production and R&D, with “synergies’’ of €1.7b ($A2.5b) forecast by 2026.

Reports suggest GM will maintain a presence in Europe with its Chevrolet and Cadillac brands soldiering on as sports and luxury offerings respectively.

GM’s Australian arm, Holden, offers several Opel products in its local line-up, such as the Astra hatch and forthcoming NG Commodore – the imported replacement for the home-grown model – but the brand has stated the acquisition will not impact current programs.

“We will continue to work closely with Opel and GM to deliver our vehicle plans with excellence and precision. This includes future, new right-hand-drive SUVs like the Equinox and Acadia that were engineered specifically for right-hand drive markets,” Holden said in March.

With local production of the Commodore winding down in October this year, the Red Lion will transition into a full-time importer, with several European models to lead their renewed product offensive.

However, what impact PSA Group’s acquisition has further down the line remains to be seen.

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